Saturday, May 3, 2014

Hope springs eternal!  Thank God!  I suppose we do okay in the rain and the grey, but we really LOVE the sun.  Everything seems possible on a sunny day, and to feel the warmth come from outside our wool or down layers is an annual call for celebration.  In the winter months we hibernate and withdraw into the innermost parts of our home.  Spring allows for an unfolding and a stretching of our limbs and a dramatic increase in our living spaces.

With warmth and hope comes inspiration and from there creation.  Someone said gardening represents a belief in the future.   I believe that.  

When we built this we had great optimism and I had a better back.  As I look back on this picture, I realize we didn't see what the picture shows. We saw this...

Spring is that magical time when we see past what is to what will be.
Projects that may seem daunting any other time of year, become perfectly reasonable in the springtime.    It is when I feel most hopeful and the most engaged or intertwined with the natural order of things.  All we have to do is plant the seed.  In the summer we have to do some watering, but in the spring that is it-

                                    Just plant the seed or the plant and let nature do the work.

It really is magic.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why The Goodwiil?

The beauty of the Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul is that it presents you with a fantastic method of giving and making a difference.  You can shop till it hurts and in doing that you send a beautifully enriching ripple effect across your community. When giving till it hurts, many of us have a fairly low pain threshold.  Seasonally, we can raise our arm from our pocket, just enough to reach the Salvation Army bucket, but beyond that, the wincing starts pretty quickly.  Which, can lead to incredulous looks of, "Really, that hurts already?!" But when shopping till it hurts, our stamina and resistance to pain is remarkable.  In fact many gain strength from this endeavor. The guy who seemed to be in chronic pain at the giving tree is now sprinting from rack to rack shouting, "What is the color?!"  When giving until it hurts, you are the first to feel the pain and possibly start to whimper and cry out, but when shopping until it hurts, your spouse will usually feel the pain first and will check on you with concern asking, "Are you starting to feel that yet?"  At this point, most spouses will say, "I agree, you had better stop, but I think I am going to keep on going for awhile.  I am doing a lot of good here."

At the Goodwill and St. Vinnie's, you can shop for a heck of a long time, before you feel the pain and do a lot of good in the process.

Another thing you can afford to do is lose some weight!  I don't actually mean that like, "Wow!  He/she can afford to lose some weight."  I mean that if one shops at the Goodwill and happens to be planning on losing weight they can afford to have clothes that fit from start to finish, instead of swimming in them until they decide they are done.  I, actually, went to a retail store and bought an expensive pair of size 36 pants, (I was in Vegas.  People do stupid things inVegas.) knowing that I was at my ideal weight.  Well, Heather, quickly brought it to my attention that we might not share the same "ideal."  That was 4 inches ago.  I did have the thought, "I should lose some weight, but I invested in these pants, so maybe I should maintain where I am until they wear out."

When is Acne a good thing?  When it is a brand of clothing.  The Goodwill is awesome, because I am always coming across great brands that I have never heard of.  Acne, Eton, H.S. Trask, Theory, all clothes that jump out because they are of great design and great fabric.

Recently, I lost my job, Waaaa Waaaa Waaaa!  That is usually a very dangerous mindset to shop with.   I am no longer earning money, I should probably not be shopping, but I want to perk myself up, so, suddenly, shopping makes sense.  One dangerous day, I entered The Goodwill with that mindset.  I told myself, I could do $50.00 worth of good.  (Above is what I found.  All items were brand new.)  The striped shirt is an Eton ($298.00), the black button up undershirt is Theory ($145.00), the jeans are Diesel ($225.00) and the shoes are H. S. Trask ($175.00) and made of bison.  The shiny ones are Cole Haan from a previous trip. I don't know if the bison part matters to you, but they are pretty proud of it.  In the 70's, I remember going to Nordstrom and my brother got a pair of whale hide shoes with big rubber soles.  I was impressed....not so much now.  Anyway, that is an $843.00 outfit for $50.00.  A knock around outfit that I like, it's very comfortable, but I would never pay full price for it....or half price....or quarter price.  Why the Goodwill for me?  Because it allows me to break the cycle of buy and regret.  I can pay cash and return home with greater value than I left with.  To me it is an exercise in manifesting.  What outcome can be created or experienced that does not adhere to our standard expectations?  And I feel, that is the excitement of life, in what areas can we exceed the expected outcome and if we can achieve it shopping, and get used to it, then eventually it spills into other areas of our lives and, I believe, that is what it's all about.

Also, if you shop at The Goodwill, you can afford to have a "thing", like that guy is really into shiny black shoes and cashmere scarves. (Someday, the world may run out of cashmere.)

And lastly, you can lose your clothes and not feel too bad about it.  Not my pants or shirt, but occasionally I do lose a scarf.  When this happens, Heather gives me some grief, but she never says, "Do you know how much that cost?"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

                                                            A Valentine....

At our core, we are hunters and gatherers.  It is in our DNA.  Combine that with a dash of belief, "He who seeks finds,"and a little bit of time on our hands and you have the recipe for constant change.  In marriage I am an eternally grateful monogamist.  I am perfectly happy to be at the midpoint of forever,
as far back as I can see and as far ahead as I can see we are together, but with furniture......for lack of a better term....I am a slut.  I love new to me, I love the mystery of their past, I love to rescue, I love their beauty and when I take them home they will be mine always. And I have a real thing for the Europeans. I am a bit of a leg man and for the most part, the Europeans have the best legs.
The French have a flirty seductiveness that always piques my interest, the Danes have great form; they are sturdy, but so graceful they make your heart ache.  The Italians are sexy, sleek and demand to be touched.  Which is not to say, I don't love our home grown product.  Americans, at their best, combine originality with purpose.  With all of these I have sworn my love equally.

But change is constant and even though we love them all, and like all fickle lovers I call my mother and tell her, "Now I have found the one!" there is no safety.  We hunt for and gather furniture and art constantly.  We love the hunt and we love to be in love.  We look for strong individual pieces; pieces that can stand on their own with beautiful lines, warm woods and enticing fabrics.  We search for a chair with a strong solitary presence that is beautiful alone, without producing a hint of loneliness, in an empty room.  A piece of art that can own a whole wall, a table that is elegant and pure against the starkness of an expanse.  And then we cram them all together.  We love the principles of minimalism, monogamy and zen we just can't live by them.

In my/our defense, I must say, we don't love and leave.  Almost, as much fun as finding our true love is the joy of finding love for another.  We are tireless matchmakers.  If a prize is not right for us, undoubtedly, we know someone for whom it is perfect.   The phone call goes something like this, "I have the perfect...." or "You will love..."

Being romantics by nature, we believe in love at first sight.  That moment when you first see someone and everything else becomes background.....and then the rest is easy.

As with love though, there are no set rules or methods for finding what you seek.  The only advice that I would give would be to travel with an open heart and open eyes (maybe an old station wagon) and remember, there is always room for more.